(WXYZ) — The Clemens Hill University football team was supposed to participate in the annual homecoming game on Friday night, but they couldn’t find enough referees to officiate the game.
The sports coordinator stated that this shortage is not unique to Clemens Hill or the Detroit metropolitan area, which is happening across the state.
We called at least four sports departments in the Detroit metropolitan area and they all said they had to postpone or push the game because they did not have enough referees to cover the field.
Officials said that this problem has existed for a long time, and it is affecting match calls, the fan experience, and the entire student-athlete.
“These boys cried yesterday,” said Keira Foster, whose son played for the Clemens Hill team.
Her son Darren will now miss his homecoming game for the second year in a row, and her heart is broken.
Clemens Hill announced that they had to cancel the game because they did not have enough referees.
Foster did not buy it and said that his parents had spent hundreds of dollars to buy special back-to-school jerseys for the boys.
“Now you suddenly want to tell me that we don’t have a referee, so you know how long we have been without a referee. My son asked this question,” Foster said.
Unfortunately, the shortage of referees is very real and common, according to Jeff Kimmerley, who works for the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
He said they lost 25% of football referees last year.
“We didn’t rebound, we didn’t lose more than last year, but we didn’t increase, so we are still down about 25 from the usual level of football officials. In short, this is the first time a team can’t play a game at all,” Kimmerly said .
In most cases, the sports department must postpone the game or a day so that they have enough referees.
Monroe football coach Ian Cook said that the shortage has affected his team more than once.
Cook said: “We have had a lot of games, we expected three officials, but we only have two.” “On a specific weekend, we held a tournament, in the last 3 games, we only have one official , So we have to use our junior college players as our so-called club officials.”
Kimmerly said that recruiting referees is not a problem, the problem is that retaining referees is the problem.
“In some places, fan behavior is gradually going downhill, which makes it difficult for people to maintain interest in doing so,” Kimmerley said.
Not having enough body on the court will affect free throws. If the game is completely cancelled, it may change the trajectory of the team’s season.
“I don’t know if this is a loss, I don’t know if this is considered a waiver,” Foster said.
We did contact the Mount Clemens school team coach to see if the game will be rescheduled, but we haven’t received a response yet.
Parents and players said they plan to hold a protest at 4pm on Friday.